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Power of Attorney (POA) Guide for Beginners - Why, What, and How

Why should I create a Power of Attorney (POA)?

Power of Attorney (POA) is a revocable and flexible document that forms the legal agreement between the Principal (or Grantor) and an attorney (or agent). Following are some reasons you would need a Power of Attorney for your personal needs.

  1. If you have assets nationally or internationally, you will need someone to look after your affairs. There is no other and the best way to maintain affairs than creating Power of Attorney.

  2. Power of Attorney can legally enforce your values and wishes.

  3. Power of Attorney represents you before and after mental incapacity.

  4. Power of Attorney includes medical, financial, property, opening and closing bank and investment accounts, day-to-day banking, selling, buying, paying bills, etc.

  5. Power of Attorney is very simple, easy, and inexpensive to create. And you would save lots in traveling to maintain your properties. Not all things can be done online.

  6. Every country has laws enacted regarding POA, so it is your legal right to create POA. The simple example is you can travel nationally and internationally by air, water, or walk, but you may prefer to walk, similar to not creating POA. If there is a vehicle (i.e., POA), why should it not utilize?


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What is Power of Attorney (POA)?

A power of attorney is a legal document in which you, as a Principal or Grantor, appoint someone (called an Agent) to look after your affairs when you cannot manage affairs due to mental incapacity or physical disability. Powers of attorney (POA) covers the affairs and preferences related to properties, financials, life insurance, bank accounts, investment accounts, medical, etc. Various nomenclature used for Power of Attorney, such as Durable, Continuing, and General Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney for Personal care.


Power of Attorney document is a very personal document similar to handing over the keys of the house to someone to look after your property. Using free Power of Attorney templates are risky as those may not meet the requirement of your country or jurisdictions.

Is POA expensive to create?

It can cost from $50 to $500, depending on the country where you live. Having drawn Power of Attorney can save much more than it costs when a person becomes incapacitated.


How can I create my Power of Attorney (POA)?

The power of Attorney form is simple but can become complicated if not drafted properly. One mistake people make is going online and grabbing the power of Attorney (POA) form without realizing the potential consequences. Using free Power of Attorney template or sample can be risky because the requirements differ from one country and jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) to another. These free POA templates and samples do not guarantee accuracy, quality, or legal compliance which you can easily examine in the disclaimer of the respective website. There are two recommended ways to create a Power of Attorney; You may use online services or Attorney or lawyer for drafting your Power of Attorney; that is recommended practice for creating because someone will look after all your affairs, indicating the importance and value of creating a Power of Attorney. We suggest following steps below so that you do not miss anything.

  1. Based on the Power of Attorney you create, you need to jot down list based on that for example.

    1. If you want to create POA for healthcare, you brainstorm about what you like and dislike. This is important because we live life by preferences and values. The scope of this POA is very broad and you can include anything and everything about your life and belief preferences.

    2. If you want to create POA for financial or property, decide which property will require to be part of this POA. There is certain legal procedure you need to follow specially when you own property that is outside your country.

  2. Create POA through an online service provider or consult a lawyer or attorney. If you are creating POA in Canada, United States, Australia, or Europe, the legal laws differ from one jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, or territory) to another and so ensure you meet all legal requirements. Also, never combine POA with other estate plans such as Last Wills, Trust, and Living Will. Also, do not combine Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Financial.

  3. Witness and notarize your POA to make it a fully legal document.

  4. POAis revocable until you lose mental capacity, so it is easy to update but ensure you witness and notarize again when you change it. Creating POA in the best way is important because it is a legal document considered in most parts of the world.


How many attorneys should I appoint for my Power of Attorney (POA)?

There is no concern legally if you appoint one or more attorneys; however, it is recommended to have two attorneys at least to be appointed for your POA. Three attorneys are better than two, but it is not mandatory. Having more attorneys can give more life to your POA document, but how you draw matters much; for example, if you prefer to have two attorneys concurrently acting for every affair, it will be more robust and prevent fraud, but it may create delays and complications in handling affairs.


What attorney can not do under Power of Attorney (POA)?

In some areas, Attorney does not have the power within Power of Attorney (POA), for example.

  1. An attorney cannot use POA to transfer assets after death. Any wealth part of the POA becomes estates after the Principal (or Grantor)'s death, and it must follow Last Will and restatement or Trust created by the Principal. The transition of estates after death from an attorney to Executor (or Trustee) is a crucial part that needs to communicate properly; otherwise, it may pose legal issues.

  2. An attorney cannot change or update a Power of Attorney document, solely the Principal (or Grantor)'s task.

  3. An attorney cannot deviate from what is written in the Power of Attorney document, and that's why you, as a Principal (or Grantor), need to ensure everything is covered.

  4. If an attorney does not agree with any part of the POA document, the Principal (or Grantor) can request the changes before he or she loses mental capacity. So, the attorney must read and have an informal agreement on the POA before you witness and notarize POA.

  5. As mentioned before, some country and financial institution laws may restrict the transfer of money or assets to an attorney's name or account.


What is the difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney?

The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare or Medical (or Power of Attorney for Personal care) can include the affairs you assign for medical and other. The word "Durable" points to mental incapacity. In other words, it is durable when someone becomes incapacitated, and you appoint someone to look after your affairs. The General Power of Attorney can include the affairs you assign for financial, medical, and other. The word "General" points to any affairs when you become incapacitated and appoint someone to look after your affairs before mental incapacity. At the same time, Durable Power of Attorney remains operational even after losing mental incapacity. So, the best option is to create the combined General Durable Power of Attorney to cover the affairs before and after mental incapacity. Both of these types of Power of Attorney will expire immediately after death. Durable Power of Attorney is popular in countries such as Canada, the United States, and Australia.

What is the difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney?

The Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for financial, legal, and other affairs that are not medically related. The word "Enduring" points to "Continuing or long-lasting." In other words, it is enduring or continuing to operate even after someone is incapacitated and you appoint someone to look after your affairs. The General Power of Attorney can include the affairs you assign for financial, medical, and other. The word "General" points to any affairs when you become incapacitated and appoint someone to look after your affairs before mental incapacity. At the same time, Enduring Power of Attorney remains operational even after losing mental incapacity. So, the best option is to create the combined General Enduring Power of Attorney. Both of these types of Power of Attorney will expire immediately after death. Enduring Power of Attorney is popular in countries such as Canada.


What is the difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney?

The Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) for Healthcare or Medical can include the affairs you assign for medical and other. The word "Durable" points to "Withstanding Continuing or long-lasting." In other words, it is durable or continues to operate even after someone is incapacitated, and you appoint someone to look after your affairs. The Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) can include the affairs you assign for financial, legal, and other affairs that are not Healthcare related. The word "Enduring" points to any affairs when you become incapacitated and appoint someone to look after your affairs before and after mental incapacity. The key thing to note is both of these Power of Attorney types remain operational even after losing mental incapacity but will expire immediately after death. Durable Power of Attorney is popular in countries such as Canada, the United States, and Australia. Enduring Power of Attorney is popular in Canada.



What is the difference between Continuing Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney?

The Continuing Power of Attorney is to look after affairs even after a person loses mental capacity. This is a major difference between General Power of Attorney which can be effective only before mental incapacity.



In which countries does Power of Attorney differ from one Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) to another?

Power of Attorney may differ from one country or Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, or territory) to another for the United States, Canada, Australia, and some European countries, so your Power of Attorney must comply with jurisdiction-specific laws for these countries. Wassiyyah provides customized, legally compliant Power of Attorneys for all world countries. Due to the diversity in the legal laws, you should not use free templates for creating your Power of Attorney.

Does Wassiyyah offer Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) specific Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney created on Wassiyyah's is country-specific to meet legal compliance. Wassiyyah provides Jurisdiction (i.e., State, Province, or Territory) specific Power of Attorney for Canada, United States, Australia, and some European countries where the laws differ from one jurisdiction to another. In short, whenever required, Wassiyyah provides jurisdiction-specific estate plans. Click HERE​ if you want to create Power of Attorney on Wassiyyah if you are a Premium or Ultimate member.


What is the difference between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

Both documents are used to appoint someone to look after your affairs and decision-making when you are mentally incapable. Living Will and the Healthcare Power of Attorney are valid while you are alive. Both documents cannot be created or changed after a person becomes mentally incapable. Living Will is created to appoint someone to decide your medical treatments, organ donations, and transplantation-related preferences. Power of Attorney for Healthcare, on the other hand, to appoint someone to make decisions about your day-to-day needs, including financial, medical, or personal.


Can Power of Attorney (POA) transfer money from a bank account?

The scope of Power of Attorney is very broad, and it can include all affairs, including transferring money, signing cheques, buying or selling properties, and many more things. Although, you cannot assign the ownership of money, investment, or property through POA. Also, an attorney (POA) cannot make a beneficiary designation or other testamentary disposition.


Can the same person represent an Attorney and Executor?

Yes, and it is the best idea and strongly suggested that the same person be appointed Attorney and Executor. An attorney does not mean a lawyer but a person you trust and have great character traits, a proactive attitude, and organized and detailed orientation skills.


Can an Attorney transfer money or assets to themselves?

The requirements may differ from one country or jurisdiction to another; however, generally, it is not allowed to transfer the money or assets to the attorney's name because Banks and financial institutions have obligations and duties to protect money and assets and prevent fraud.


Can I cancel the Power of Attorney after I have signed it and witnessed it?

You can cancel the Power of Attorney anytime during you are mentally capable. A power of attorney becomes irrevocable after losing mental incapacity. A power of attorney cancels out automatically after death. You can revoke the Power of Attorney in writing or destroy the original documents and inform your attorneys and witnesses.


Can a bank or other financial institutions refuse to accept Power of Attorney?

Yes, Banks or other financial institutions can refuse to accept the validity of Power of Attorney, and reasons may include but are not limited to below. If someone faces this situation, an attorney should resolve the issue by escalating to the head of the bank and consult a lawyer if needed.

  1. Bank owns the rights and duties to protect the interest of money and investment from fraud. Banks or other financial institutions can refuse to accept Power of Attorney in such cases.

  2. Some bank requires internal paperwork to be completed in addition to Power of Attorney which was not done before a Principal lost mental capacity.

  3. A power of attorney expires after a few years per some of the country's rules that you should be mindful of. Bank can easily refuse to accept when it does not meet this legal requirement.

  4. If a Bank representative feels that suspicion about an Attorney is due to his or her history, they will not accept it until it is fully settled.

  5. If an unusual transfer of money is requested from the Principal's account by an attorney. So, keep this in mind as thought before writing down Power of Attorney.

  6. Some banks may refuse if someone called from the Principal's family for real reason about Attorney's behavior and warn them to implement the Power of Attorney.


Who cannot be appointed as a witness for Power of Attorney?

You cannot appoint an attorney and a person with interest in your money or property, such as Spouse, Children, etc. You can appoint your friend, colleague, or any other person you trust with good character traits.


Should I create a Power of Attorney or not?

Everyone should create their Power of Attorney for Property and Healthcare as the most suggested approach. You can pick and choose the preferences for affairs that work best for you and your wish; otherwise, someone has to decide on your behalf, which may be contrary to or against your wishes. It's your legal right and the time to make it before it is too late. Creating Power of Attorney would give you and your family peace of mind. No sadness or regret for you and your family. It becomes challenging for family members when someone becomes mentally incapable without these documents.

What is the Power of Attorney for Inheritance?

Power of Attorney for Inheritance is a legal document to appoint an Attorney to look after your personal or other affairs after death. Power of Attorney for Inheritance differs from the Power of Attorney for Property and Healthcare as those are invalid after death. However, not many countries have adequate laws to support the Power of Attorney for Inheritance, so we suggest consulting the local jurisdictional office or consulate general before signing off. Wassiyyah currently does not offer this type of Power of Attorney due to its inadequacy of laws. However, there is an alternative solution that Wassiyyah suggests as a part of Premium or Ultimate member content.


It is a great way to manage financial and healthcare-related affairs in unfortunate situations such as sickness, mental incapacity, disability, etc.


What is Power of Attorney?


It’s a very important legal document to appoint someone to look after your financial and other affairs depending upon your preferences.


What is Donor or Principal?


A person who gives a power of Attorney to look after his or her financial or healthcare affairs.


What is Attorney, Agent, or Proxy?


An attorney is an empowered person to act on behalf of the donor under a general or specific power of Attorney. Different names are used for Attorney's agents, proxies, attorney-in-fact, patient advocates or surrogates, etc.


Everyone would like to manage their lifetime affairs themselves, however, in many unfortunate situations you are obliged to appoint power of attorney.
Power of Attorney



What is the Power of Attorney types?


There are three types mainly.

  1. Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs

  2. Power of Attorney for Health care

  3. Power of Attorney for Inheritance (Also called as Posthumous Power of Attorney)


Why should you appoint the Power of Attorney?


There are several reasons for appointing the Power of Attorney.

  1. We do not know the time of arrival of unfortunate time.

  2. Medical issues include the person being mentally incapable, sickness, or disability.

  3. Someone may be migrated from another country and do not know about managing finances.


What is revocable vs. Irrevocable concerning Power of Attorney?


As the names suggest, the revocable one can be terminated by the principal, while the principal cannot terminate the irrevocable one. Power of Attorney is a revocable legal document. However, it becomes irrevocable upon mental incapacity.



When is Power of Attorney applicable?


It depends on your choice. You can choose when the Power of Attorney becomes effective. You can decide to become effective immediately after creating or upon mental incapacity. If you want someone to manage your affairs due to remote assets, you can draft the Power of Attorney to be effective immediately. If you want someone to look after your affairs when you become mentally incapable, you can prepare accordingly. There is a specific section in the Power of Attorney document where you can select either of these options.


When should I create Power of Attorney?


When you plan to go overseas, you may create a power of attorney to manage your affairs while you are away. This power of attorney will be in effect only when you are overseas. But it would be best if you created a Power of Attorney as soon as you are an adult to cover mental or physical incapability situations.


What is Mentally capable concerning Power of Attorney?


It is a state a person can understand the information and communicate relevant to making a personal decision and the ability to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of the decision.


What is a Personal matter about Power of Attorney?


It may include terms such as healthcare, accommodation, with whom the person may live and associate, participation in social, educational, religious, cultural, and employment activities, legal matters, or any other matter prescribed by the regulations.


How can I organize my Power of Attorney against Last Will and Trust?


You must create Power of Attorney as a separate document to create the Last Will. You cannot combine Last Will and Power of Attorney in one document. However, if you are making a Trust, your Power of Attorney can be part of the Trust, and in that case, you do not need to create a separate Power of Attorney.


When do I need to update my Power of Attorney?


Updating the Power of Attorney means you must follow the entire witnessing, signing, and notarization process as soon as you change the previously witnessed and notarized Power of Attorney. You need to update your Power of Attorney in scenarios such as all witnesses die, all executors die, geographically relocated out of the country, and if the testator dies. But you do not need to change your Power of Attorney for changes in marital status (i.e., marriage or divorce), death of Spouse, birth or death of children, job, employer, properties, investments, bank accounts, or business. You can update the Power of Attorney during your lifetime as long as you are mentally capable, but it becomes irrevocable upon mental incapacity.


Where do I keep the signed copy of my Power of Attorney?


Scan and send the electronic copy via email to your spouse, trusted family members, friends, Executors, or lawyer. Keep the original copy at home, at the lawyer's office, or the bank safety deposit box. Keep a copy with you if you are in a continuing care situation or traveling worldwide.


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